Parables and Spirit-Bending Stories
The disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered…”The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ (Matthew 13:10-11, 13, NRSV)
Jesus didn’t give an easy or direct answer to many questions, especially those about important things: love, life, God, mercy, justice. Instead, he told stories – something he learned from his Jewish faith and scripture. Why he taught in parables (stories with unexpected twists and outcomes): A story captivates, an essay bores or confuses. A story depends on the reader for interpretation, a contract invites loophole seeking. The meaning of a parable grows as we grow.
Parables are engaging, requiring more than a passing glance or thought. They upset our expectations enough to catch and keep our attention. They invite us into a new and unexpected place where we have a better chance of running into God’s grace. If we return to them over and over again, we just might realize that the world we enter through a parable is the world we live in every day but never bother to look at. Eyes to see and ears to hear – the gifts of a parable.
Each week this Lent, a parable from the Old or New Testament is offered with two meditations. No good story can be reduced to a single interpretation or moral, so feel free to add your thoughts and prayers to this Lenten adventure…
The Parables for each week are:
Week One: Parable of the Yeast, Matthew 13:33
Week Two: Parable of the Two Sons, Matthew 21:28-31(32)
Week Three: You are the Man, 2 Samuel 12:1-7a (8-9, parts)
Week Four: The Parable of Jonah, Jonah 1-4
Week Five: Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge, Luke 18:1-8
Week Six: The Parable of the Sower, Mark 4:1-9
Week Seven: Parable of the Lost Sheep/Lost Coin, Luke 15:1-10